After Walkout, Google Agrees To Step Up Transparency, Harassment Policies

09 November, 2018, 18:00 | Author: Donna Miller
  • Sundar Pichai

Google changed some policies on sexual misconduct after thousands of employees walked out of their offices last week to protest big payouts for executives accused of harassment and other misbehavior.

Among the measures announced are the introduction of optional arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

However, Pichai's email said the company will "provide more granularity around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes at the company as part of our Investigations Report".

Google will also provide more details about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees.

The walkout by Google employees was in protest against sexual harassment at the company and its improper handling of sexual misbehaviour allegations against top executives.

The company is also stepping up its training aimed at preventing misconduct.

Google will also be expanding its Investigations Report to include a count of "substantiated or partially substantiated" claims over time, as well as trends, disciplinary actions, and substantiation percentages.

"But one of the most common factors among the harassment complaints made today at Google is that the perpetrator had been drinking".

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Google policy already bans excessive consumption of alcohol on the job; while on company business, or at work-related events.

"We will impose more onerous actions if problems persist", Google said.

The global walkout spread to many countries in Europe, North America and Asia, including Britain, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Google's headquarters in Mountain View in northern California. "We've always been a vanguard company, so if we don't lead the way, nobody else will".

The protest took shape after Google said it had fired 48 employees in the past two years - including 13 senior executives - as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct. "When Google does something, other employers tend to copy it", she said.

The walkout, which took place on November 1, saw approximately 20,000 employees leave their Google offices around the globe at 11:10 a.m. local time.

Demands posted by organisers included an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees, along with a right for every Google worker to bring a co-worker, representative, or supporter when filing a harassment claim.

"Over the past few weeks Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared.It's clear we need to make some changes", Pichai said.

While the policy changes Pichai outlined met numerous protesters' requirements, they do not include adding an employee representative to Alphabet's board or elevating the chief diversity officer to report directly to the CEO, it said.

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